Author: Jana Birta Björnsdóttir, Msc in Biomedical science and member of Tabu
Let’s go back to the year 1994, I’m out shopping with my mom. The shoe aisle grabs my attention and I forget myself admiring beautiful pairs of shoes. After a while I look up and see a lady looking at me. The five years old me sensed that something about my appearance disturbed her. Her facial expression was so strong that it filled me with fear and I ran back to my mom.
This is my first memory of how my disability can cause people to have a bad reaction. The seeds of shame were planted, seeds fed on disability prejudice. Like when I hear or sense that disability is undesirable and people with disabilities are not equal to non-disabled people. The seeds of shame soon blossomed into full-grown weeds of shame, hindering me in daily life. With good help from a twelve-step program and Tabú – a feminist disability movement I’m able to poison these unwanted weeds of shame.
The deepest roots however, remain untouched by the poison. Laying deep, they wait for their next feed of disability prejudice, which many people in power positions seem willing to supply.
Do you produce seeds of shame with attitude, behaviour and talk?